Charles Howard

Get Aboard, Old Man.

Offset lithograph, c.1900.
Paper size 13 5/8 x 9 5/8" (34.6 x 24.5 cm).
Generally good condition, repaired 1 1/8 inch tear in lower, extending into the poem.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 98477
Price: $30.00
Publisher :
"Get abroad, old man. Now don't delay. / You've hit it up, for many a day. / For the Water Wagon, you're long past due. / Get aboard, or 23 for you."

This image is filled with pop-culture slang of the day. The Temperance Movement had began back in the 1820s and was determined to outlaw the consumption of alcohol. The "water wagon" references sobriety and, along with the poem, alludes to the fact that the man pictured is a drunkard. The number 23, also known as 23-skidoo, was an extremely popular phrase used in the United States in the early part of the 20th century, roughly meaning "to leave in a hurry" or "get lost." These elements combined roughly translate the poem to mean "You've been drunk for days and it's time for you to sober up. Do so now or get lost."

A "Penny Dreadful" or "Vinegar Valentine." While most think of Valentine's Day as a celebration of romance, there was a market in the 19th and early 20th century for those who viewed the day with higher grades of snark. These snide Valentines were often sent to those the buyer disliked (back when mail could be sent anonymously), or to those who shared a similar sense of humor. Their production began as early as the 1820s but did not become popular until the concept of Valentine's Day exploded in the late 19th century.
18th-19th Century Subjects , Valentine , Penny Dreadful / Vinegar Valentines